News Round-Up: October 18, 2019

Michael and I laughing as Olivia Newton-John officiates the renewal of our wedding vows

Some news items you might have missed:

The Big Two-Five: I’ll share the full details soon, but yes, hubby Michael and I celebrated our 25th anniversary together yesterday renewing our wedding vows. And handling the officiating duties was our dear friend (and international pop star), Olivia Newton-John. #Magic My wish is that everyone celebrates their 25th with as much joy and love that surrounded us yesterday. Thanks to the fabulous Denise Truscello for the awesome pic 🙂

• Deadline: With domestic box office gross of $83.5 million, Focus Features’ Downton Abbey movie, which features a gay storyline, has surpassed another gay-themed Focus Features film, three-time Oscar-winner Brokeback Mountain, as the highest-grossing title of all time for the studio.

KIT212: Check out what’s the what this week in gay magazines across the country.

Washington Post: Lenny Pozner, who lost his six-year-old son Noah in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has spent years trying to stop people from spreading lies claiming the massacre was faked and never happened. In June, Pozner won a defamation case against book editors James H. Fetzer and Mike Palecek, who published statements that his son’s death certificate was a fake. On Tuesday, a Wisconsin jury ordered Fetzer to pay Pozner $450,000 in punitive damages.

• Axios: An internal impeachment polling memo that was sent to House Democrats Thursday included specific messaging guidance: “When discussing Trump’s actions, keep the language simple, direct and values-based…No one is above the law…The whistleblower did the right thing by coming forward…Focus on the biggest issues facing families in the country, specifically health care and wages.”

BBC: Little monsters were agog last night when a fan who got pulled up on stage during Lady Gaga’s Enigma concert in Las Vegas lost his footing and fell off-stage while holding the pop star. Gaga didn’t seem to suffer any serious injuries and went on with the show. She brought the fan back on stage to sit at the piano as she sang “Million Reasons” and implored folks on the internet to be nice to him telling the audience, “And if anybody on the internet is mean to you tomorrow about this then I’m going to be very upset with each and every one of them.”

News Round-Up: September 24, 2019

Michael and I visiting a church Portofino

Some news items you might have missed:

Throwback Thursday: Remembering that time Michael and I visited Portofino in 2018 and stopped by a beautiful little church (above). We were happily surprised when Michael didn’t spontaneously combust 🙂

Tuscon.com: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says he’s “against discrimination in all its forms” but won’t support extending state laws to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people. He does support the recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling that allows Christian owners of a calligraphy firm to refuse to prepare wedding invitations for same-sex couples.

Sacramento Bee: The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that a Sacramento-area transgender man can sue Mercy San Juan Medical Center over the last-minute cancellation of his hysterectomy, overturning a lower-court ruling that dismissed the case. The patient contends his surgery was canceled due to anti-transgender bias.

Politico: White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren has announced a $10 million ad buy in early voting states.

HuffPost: Focus Features’ Downton Abbey ruled over the box office competition in North America this past weekend. The big-screen continuation of the popular British TV show beat expectations with $31 million when it debuted in 3,079 theaters, setting a new opening weekend record for the studio.

Washington Post: A new study shows 78 percent of the most influential jobs in Donald Trump’s White House have turned over during his tenure, a figure higher than those for the entire first terms of the previous four administrations.

National Voter Registration Day: President Barack Obama (and I) want to encourage you to not only register to vote, but VOTE! Check to see if you’re registered by clicking over to IWillVote.com OR text VOTER to 26797 to make sure you are registered to vote and get alerts for all your elections.

News Round-Up: September 13, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Steve Raider (above) is giving you total lawn lounging. Talk about ‘splendor in the grass’…

Metro: In the upcoming big-screen iteration of Downton Abbey, closeted valet-turned-butler Thomas Barrow (played by Rob James-Collier) gets his own storyline offering emotional insight – joy and otherwise – into what it was like to be gay in the 1920s. The film opens in theaters September 20.

CNN: As far back as the 1990s, Vice President Mike Pence argued that homosexuality was a choice during his fight against local efforts in Indiana to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

CNET: Miami-based porn website BangBros has offered an ambitious $10 million bid to rename the former American Airlines Arena as The BangBros Center or BBC should the company win the bid.

Instinct: SNL has hired its first-ever Asian cast member, Bowen Yang, set to join the venerable comic troupe this fall.

New Music: My fellow Syracuse University alum, John Duff, offers his latest music video, “Rich,” which mocks and celebrates pop culture’s love-hate obsession with those who are already rich and famous.

“I like to think I’m holding a mirror to what it is that we do every day, as a culture – what we worship, how we consume, how we cope,” says Duff. “That’s where the visuals really aid in my storytelling.”

New Trailer For ‘Downton Abbey’ Reveals Royal Visit & Gay Romance

Robert James-Collier as “Thomas Barrow” in Downton Abbey

The first full trailer for the upcoming Downton Abbey movie is here, and it features some same-sex lip lock action.

Last December, director Michael Engler told Entertainment Weekly that the film’s storyline would focus on an “event.”

“Life is settling into these new realities when this event happens at Downton that brings everyone together, “ Engler shared with EW. “The story line has expanded the scale of it. It takes the things you love about Downton – the romance, the intrigue, the pageantry – and makes it bigger.”

In the new trailer, it’s revealed that Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) receive news of a royal visitation to Downton Abbey by none other than the king and queen of England.

The estate whirls into action preparing for the occasion, but Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) feels the need to call in the heavy artillery. So, she reaches out to retired butler Carson for help.

Of course, Carson could never say ‘no’ to Mary. “I’ll be there in the morning.”

Midway through the new trailer, it appears that sometime-villain and butler Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) has found himself a boyfriend as we glimpse him strolling with, and then kissing, a handsome young man.

Thomas gets a boyfriend?

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Downton Abbeywithout some witty repartee from the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith).

Over its 6 seasons, the series won 3 Golden Globe Awards and 15 Primetime Emmy Awards (69 Emmy nods in total), making Downton Abbeythe most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys.

The movie lands in theaters on September 12 internationally, and in the U.S. on September 20.

First Teaser For Upcoming ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie

First teaser released for upcoming film version of Downton Abbey which hits theaters on Sept. 20, 2019.

Executive producer Gareth Neame tells EW about the upcoming cinematic event that will be Downton Abbey:

“We had to do everything that all the fans wanted, but we had to do something that was fresh and original. We wanted a kind of storyline and sense of scale and production value that exceeded even the very high production values the TV show was remembered for.

“On the big screen, it just had to look a little bit more lavish and a little bit bigger and better.

“It’s a return to these really beloved characters and seeing them in new sets of circumstances and how they will deal with those, and hopefully, a good mix of the drama, comedy, and romance that had been the mainstays of it all.”

Squeee!!! We love Downton Abbey here at my house!!!

Downton Abbey will hit theaters on Sept. 20, 2019.

Watch the teaser below.

Behind The Scenes Of The Upcoming ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie

The cast of ‘Downton Abbey’ (image via ITV)

The hit British TV drama Downton Abbey is finally getting its own movie.

The most successful costume/period series in 40 years, Downton Abbey picked up three Golden Globe Awards and 15 Primetime Emmy Awards over its six seasons (2010-2015).

According to PEOPLE, principal cast members Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern are all returning as well as many other longtime cast members.

No word yet, though, as to whether Robert James-Collier will return as the semi-villainous gay butler, “Thomas Barrow.”

Throughout the show’s six seasons, Barrow fell in love with straight men, underwent conversion therapy in an attempt to ‘cure’ his gayness and attempted suicide. In the series finale, however, he was recommended to become the new head butler for the estate.

The TODAY Show paid a visit to Highclere Castle in north Hampshire, UK to get a first look at the upcoming film set to premiere September 20, 2019, in the United States.

The creators, cast and crew are all being very tight-lipped about any storyline or even a hint about what may be in store for the the Crawley family and the servants who worked in their country home.

Although, in the video report below, Hugh Bonneville does attempt to trick us with his own fake storyline.

Handsome Allen Leech, who plays “Tom Branson,” recently told Vanity Fair that the film will be emotional. “It’s Julian (Fellowes) — you’re going to have tears. He’s never too saccharine-sweet, so be prepared for everything.”

“It’s a big, epic story that’s definitely going to fill the big screen,” Leech continued. “That was our worry about taking the show from the small screen to the big screen. But you have Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for writing, and he’s done a great job with the story.”

Alastair Bruce, who serves as the historical advisor on the project recently posted on Twitter, “Last night, we left @HighclereCastle after the filming [what] we needed for the upcoming #DowntonAbbey film – we staged the last scene in the kitchen courtyard – exactly where we shot the very first @DowntonAbbey scene at the start of filming for series 1 #whatajourney.”

For a time, there were questions as to whether the delightfully droll Dame Maggie Smith would return for the film

During an appearance on the Graham Norton Show, she was asked if she was glad the show was over and she answered in the affirmative, “Oh yeah.”

“By the time we finished, [The Dowager Countess] must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense,” she continued.

And during an interview at the British Film Institute, she worried aloud if the tale had been told. “I just think it’s squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean?” she said.

Happily, though, Smith will be back and we’re already prepping ourselves for more of her drop-dead zingers.

News Round-Up: July 14, 2018

InstaHunk Joel Green is ready to take you on a ride :)

Some news items you might have missed:

• It’s the weekend! Who wants to go for a ride with InstaHunk Joel Green?

• Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from the upcoming film, Rub & Tug, after a backlash about the actress playing a transgender role in the movie. “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues,” she said.

• There’s going to be a Downton Abbey movie! Squeee! According to the BBC, the “original principal cast” will begin production later this summer, the film’s producers said.

• Republican Illinois Gov. Rauner is getting flack from conservatives for having the nerve to officiate the same-sex wedding of longtime friends. #srsly

• 80s super group ABBA just finished recording their first new tracks since 1982 and says ‘it was a fantastic experience.’

• From her upcoming album, Sweetener, Ariana Grande releases the female empowered music video for “God Is A Woman”, directed by Grammy Award®-winning director Dave Meyers.

The one-and-only Madonna offers a spoken-word cameo as ‘God’ along the way.

#divine.

Trailer: Final Season Of Downton Abbey

The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey will premiere on ITV September 20th, and so, there’s a new appropriately melancholy trailer as the denizens of the estate prepare to head off in their separate directions.

I know it’s really just a fancy soap opera, but I love it.

Here’s hoping handsome, gay footman Thomas finds some kind of happiness before the finale.

“Downton Abbey” airs on PBS in the United States and the new season is scheduled to start on January 3, 2016.